Environmental Restoration Matters: The Benefits of Restoring our Ecosystems Vol 2
Ecological restoration is important for the health of our planet and the communities that live on it. Previously, we explored why we work in Ecological Restoration and how it benefits communities. In this post, we explore how Environmental Restoration is a vital process that can help to reverse the negative impact of human activities on our planet’s ecosystems.
As climate change grows our sector, we still must recognise how the mahi creates the benefits of clean air, clear water and reduced erosion and flooding. The following are some of the benefits of environmental restoration:
Climate Change Mitigation
Restoring forests, wetlands, and other natural areas is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. These ecosystems act as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By restoring these environments, we can help mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. This is crucial in stabilizing global temperatures and preventing extreme weather events and sea-level rise. Ecological restoration can also help communities adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. Restored wetlands, for instance, can act as natural buffers against rising sea levels and flooding, protecting coastal communities.
Clean Air and Water
Ecological restoration projects often involve planting native vegetation and implementing sustainable land management practices. These actions can reduce air pollution by absorbing and filtering out harmful substances, including pollutants and particulate matter. Furthermore, wetlands and natural areas act as natural filters, purifying water and improving water quality. Clean air and water are vital for the health of both the environment and human populations.
Some farmers in New Zealand are adopting sustainable and regenerative farming practices that prioritize ecological restoration. They are planting native trees, managing waterways, and removing pests to improve the health of the land and protect native species. These actions mitigate the effects of intensive farming and give areas of farms not suitable for farming a purpose, bringing the farm back into the ecological processes of its surroundings.
Reduced Erosion and Flooding
Wetlands, forests, and other natural areas have a remarkable ability to control erosion and reduce the risk of flooding. Their root systems stabilize soil, preventing it from being washed away during heavy rains.
Wetlands act as natural sponges, absorbing excess water and gradually releasing it, thus mitigating the impact of floods. Ecological restoration projects that focus on these ecosystems help protect communities from the devastating effects of erosion and flooding. The constructed wetland at Ahuriri Lagoon redirects water from the Huritini/Halswell River. The aim is to trap sediments and nutrients before the water flows into Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, helping improve water quality.
Ecological restoration helps combat soil erosion, a problem that affects both agricultural and natural lands. Landslides like those caused by cyclone Gabrielle in February could be mitigated by native plantings. Native vegetation, once restored, holds the soil in place, preventing erosion and improving overall soil health. Healthy soils are essential for agriculture and play a vital role in carbon sequestration.
Speaking of carbon sequestration, forests and wetlands, when restored, act as powerful carbon sinks. They absorb and store carbon dioxide, mitigating the effects of climate change. Restoring these ecosystems contributes to a healthier planet and cleaner air for all.
New Zealand’s dedication to reducing carbon emissions and protecting its ecosystems bolsters its appeal as a responsible travel choice. And contrary to popular beliefs, our native forests work well for carbon sequestration.
Improved Water Quality
Restoring ecosystems can significantly enhance water quality. Wetlands and forests act as natural filters, removing pollutants and impurities from water. Clean water is not only essential for human consumption but also for the health of aquatic life and overall ecosystem balance.
In conclusion, ecological restoration is not just about preserving the natural world; it’s about safeguarding our own future. By restoring ecosystems, we ensure a healthier, more resilient planet, with tangible benefits for both nature and humanity. The time to invest in restoration efforts is now. As individuals, communities, and nations, we must recognize the importance of this work and take steps to protect and heal the ecosystems upon which our survival depends.